Since it seems like quite a few people out there are looking to take their maternity pictures themselves as well, here are some tips that can help make your photo shoot a success.
- Make sure you have a big belly! The point of a maternity photo shoot is to show off your baby bump, so plan to take your pictures between 30-36 weeks. If you wait any longer you risk missing your opportunity if you go in to labor early and you'll probably be too uncomfortable to fully enjoy the experience. We took our photos when I was 34 weeks.
- Bring plenty of props! They help tell a story and can add a lot of visual interest to your pictures. Some fun prop ideas include: Baby on Board sign, chalkboard (don't forget the chalk!), baby clothes/hats/shoes, books, toys, rattles, baby blocks, wooden letters, ribbons, balloons, ultrasounds, baby bottles, and baby blankets.
- Take your photos outside. Unless your house is worthy of Pinterest, taking them outside will make for a much prettier background. Obviously this could pose a problem during the winter months, however I think pictures at an outdoor skating rink or Christmas tree lot would be really awesome! Outdoor locations you might want to consider include: forest preserves, botanical gardens, parks, carnivals, playgrounds, pools, beaches, walking trails, downtown areas and abandoned buildings.
- If you're really set on taking your maternity pictures indoors, a few location ideas include: greenhouses, loft spaces, libraries, museums, and historical homes.
- If you do take your photos outside, do them between 4-6pm, or a little earlier if you're shooting during the winter. This time frame is known as the "golden hour" and makes for beautiful, soft portraits. If you can, try and shoot on a cloudy day. We did our photos when it was really sunny out though and I still think they turned out fine.
- You don't need a professional camera to take your own pictures. While I do have a DSLR now, I didn't when we did our maternity pictures. Yes, photos with a DSLR will turn out nicer, but I think my little Canon G10 did a pretty decent job!
- If you plan on taking photos with you and your significant other (or anyone else, really), plan on using a tripod, or enlisting the help of a family member or friend. You could prop your camera up on something, but there's more of a chance it could get knocked over and damaged than with a tripod. If you're doing them yourselves, learn how to use the timer on your camera before you start the photo shoot. All the pictures with the
twothree of us were taken using a tripod and self-timer.
- If you are taking your photos in a public place, don't worry about the people around you. They might give you funny looks for setting up your camera with the self timer, but who cares? You'll probably never see them again, but you'll have the pictures for years. When we did ours there were tons of people on the jogging path who saw me and my big ol' pregnant belly crouched down on all fours so I could get the perfect shot.
- Be prepared to edit your photos. I mainly edit in PhotoShop Elements with different actions I have. You can also use an online editing tool to give your photos a more professional, polished look. Check out Picasa, Pixlr and PicMonkey.
Do you have any other tips for DIY photographers? Share them in the comments below!